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The Three Songs for Violoncello and Pipa was world premiered by Yo Yo Ma and Wu Man at the White House in 1999. It was recorded by Nicholas Tzavaras, cellist from Shanghai Quartet and Wu Man, pipa in 2002. This album, includes Bright Sheng's String Quartet no.3 and no.4, as well as Four Movements for Piano Trio, is available to order or download at Amazon or iTunes.


Three Songs for Violoncello and Pipa (1999)

for violoncello and pipa
1. Seasons
2. Little Cabbage
3. Tibetan Dance




Program Note

This work was commissioned by the White House of the United States of America, specially written for Yo Yo Ma and Wu Man for a sate dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton in honor of the Chinese Premiere and Mrs. Zhu Rong Ji on April 8th, 1999.

The work is based on three popular folk melodies I heard while growing up in China. In Seasons, a folk song from the northwestern province of Qinghai, the text expresses the happiness for a young maiden for the arrival of each new season: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Little Cabbage, a Hebei (province near Beijing) folk song, is traditionally sung by daughters when visiting their mothers' grave. It is sad and melancholic. Tibetan Dance is based on a well-known Tibetan folk dance rhythmic melody.



—Bright Sheng


The Year of 1999
Bright Sheng with President Clinton at the White House
After the World Premiere of
Three Songs for Pipa and Violoncello